I approach building a bike as sharing a goal with my customer—making him or her truly happy on their bike will make me truly happy.This means focusing on fit and function. A good fit is much more than dimensions — it’s an understanding of how people interact with their bike, how they use it, where they get enjoyment from their riding. The same fit can produce a lot of different rides, and that’s what makes building a frame for someone so enjoyable, and so difficult to do well.
While there are certain frame geometries specific to road racing, cyclocross, touring, or daily commuting, there’s an enormous range of choices that need to be considered to apply any one frame geometry to a rider’s style and needs. That’s what will determine the best tube selection, angles, lengths, and bottom bracket height.I enjoy figuring out how to build a bike for an aggressive weekend race that will deliver punch and performance as much as I enjoy building a bike for people who aren’t spring chickens, who are vintage riders with aches and pains but who can still get comfortable on the right bike.
Some people like the feel of steel, its durability, and the ability to change clearances for tires and fenders. Other people are obsessed with weight. I wish them well because the quest to save a pound in a frame is the difference between a frame that will last a lifetime and a frame that will last a season or two. I build for the lifetime.
I build the way I built Paramounts, Rivendells, and Waterfords – carefully and never compromising on design or fabrication quality. Steel lets you repaint. Paint is there to to protect the frame from the elements. (And, incidentally, to hide the sins of the builder. All my bikes I will happily clear coat.)Most of my tools are modern, state of the art. I bought many of them in 2005 when I built my frame shop, but there are a few special tools I’ve had for more than twenty years. Those tools were with me when I made my first frames, when I was learning this craft. My frame clamp blocks? I made them myself.
My workshop is at my home in the rolling Kettle Moraine hills of Southeastern Wisconsin. When it suits me — and it suits me often — I like to listen to bagpipe music when I work.